Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Pellegrini odds on for City vacancy

Manuel Pellegrini is favourite to take over the Manchester City hotseat

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini remains the overwhelming favourite to succeed Roberto Mancini as Manchester City manager.

The Chilean has been heavily linked with the Premier League club since the weekend, when rumours of Mancini's imminent demise began to surface. After three days of intense speculation, City finally confirmed Mancini had been sacked after three and a half years in charge at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

With a game at Reading to be played in the evening there has been no further comment from the club with regards to their search for a successor or any other issues. But having placed assistant manager Brian Kidd in interim charge for the final games of the season against Reading and Norwich and next week's United States tour, there may be no immediate rush.

Pellegrini has denied suggestions he has a deal in place with City but will leave Malaga after the Spanish season ends on June 1.

The 59-year-old has also been linked with other clubs but is odds on to take charge next at Eastlands with other candidates such as Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers considered outsiders.

Former City manager Brian Horton would expect some of the game's biggest names to be in contention with the club having now established themselves at the top end of the Premier League. Horton, who was in charge at Maine Road from 1993-95, told Press Association Sport: "With Brian Kidd taking the reins it maybe gives them a bit more time to see who there is or if Pellegrini comes.

"I'm sure they'll get lots of big names linked with it if it is left for a couple of weeks. They are one of the big clubs in the world now.

"In my book Mourinho would be fantastic, if City could get him, but I don't know - Pellegrini is the name being linked. I don't know much about him but he seems to have done well at Villarreal and Malaga and you can't be that bad if you've managed Real Madrid."

Mancini took charge in December 2009 and, backed by the club's billionaire owners, helped transform their fortunes. He oversaw FA Cup success in 2011 - the club's first trophy in 35 years - and then topped that with last season's dramatic Premier League title win.

His failures to build on those achievements, with an underwhelming title defence and a poor showing in Europe, counted against him, however. When his exit was eventually confirmed, the club highlighted a failure to achieve "stated targets" and a desire to develop a "holistic approach to all aspects of football".

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